Season’ Greetings to all our email friends. I find it hard to believe it is December, with such a beautiful fall it doesn’t seem like winter time. By the sound of the weather predictions for next week, winter will be here without a doubt. We have nothing to complain about, I sure don’t look forward to the cold though.
Baby Tonya Danae Musser was born to our son Mark & Mabel Ann on Tuesday November 29th. She weighed 6 lbs. 10 oz. and was 19” long, a cute, tiny package. That makes 15 grandchildren for us, 7 girls and 8 boys, the girls are catching up! I am glad they live close by so I can see her oftener.
We have again had some changes in employees, it takes time to get everyone trained, but things are going better by now. Nathan, Joseph, Kiel, Doug and William are the cheese maker’s, Harold is in shipping, Stacy in retail and office, Dwayne does wholesale. Rae Ann, Nicole & Kaitlyn are the cheese cutting girls. Jeff is mostly in the office as general manager and Junior’s assistant, he also helps out on the floor as necessities arise. Doug also takes care of the aging rooms, Russ works 2 days a week. Jay Alan still faithfully hauls milk and does maintenance. The newest employee is Chris, who will be manager of the cheese cutting, orders, shipping, the general flow of things. She will be taking over most of my duties so I can cut back to part time. There is a lot to learn, but she is doing well.
The orders have been rolling out of here, we have never sold this much cheese before, we are happy to be able to do so. It keeps everyone stepping in the cutting, packaging and shipping departments. And now we are in the gift box season, we have already sold a nice amount and Christmas is still 3 weeks away. The FedEx drivers will be keeping busy in the next couple of weeks.
Rufus was very busy with demos and food shows the last few months. He was in Fairfield, Coralville, Cedar Rapids and Iowa City this week. In 2 weeks he will be in Chicago for 4 days and that will wrap it up for 2016. He is ready for a break but will be ready to get back on the road again in a few weeks.
Junior took off early yesterday to work at getting things ready for winter on the farm. This will be his first winter at this place, he may need to do more to get ready. The children sure like living there. Jessica’s kitties are Mittens & Boots, Cupcake & Cookie. Junior found the last 2 in the cornfield, rather wild, but the one was a Calico and he chased it till he caught it. The children and Crystal are getting them tamed. Austin, 22 months, is a chubby blue-eyed blond, full of energy and a winning grin. He gets so excited when we come, he hardly knows how to act. And Jeremy is the big boy around there, Daddy’s helper. He takes his time to things, seeming almost slow, but the wheels are turning in his head. Jessica on the other hand is quick, impulsive.
The 3 boys and families, Rufus’ brother and nephew’s families were at our place for Thanksgiving dinner. I had to unpack dishes from boxes. We had smoked turkey, potato stuffing, baked corn, peas and onions au gratin, pickles and olives, cheese and crackers and for dessert, pumpkin crunch. The boys stayed for the evening. Supper was taco dip and chips, broccoli/cauliflower salad, soft pretzels and schmere kase. We played games in the evening, an enjoyable day.
Daughter Rose called the day after, she and the 3 children decided to come for the weekend since husband Dennis was gone several days and Mary Ann had no school. They live in Withee, WI, arrived at 6 pm Friday evening and stayed till Sunday afternoon. Mary Ann, Lori and Brian are her three. Galen & Rachel had the family for Saturday supper so she could meet everyone. Junior didn’t make it, he was hauling straw. Galen decided to roast a small hog. He dug the hole by hand, said if he wouldn’t have already had the hog slaughtered, he would have given it up. It was good, Rachel also made baked potatoes, green beans, lettuce salad, apple goodie and ice cream. The grown-ups played a game while the children had fun, turned a room “upside down”. So Grandma helped clean up, then read a story till we went home.
Little Emma is now 3½ months old and such a cute baby, smiles so readily. Sister Rebecca absolutely loves her after her rocky start. Rebecca is also a blue eyed blond, but not chunky like Austin. She is a little jabberbox, just recently started saying Grandma, they always say “Pap Pap” first. She used to be a real mama baby, since Emma arrived that has changed and she likes her grandparents. Our grandchildren are such a joy.
Grandsons David & Daniel turned 4 yesterday and little brother Curvin was 1 on the 28th. Their mom made a cake with a skid loader as decoration made with icing, little farm boys.
Tomorrow my family is getting together for our Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner. Everyone is invited, sometimes we don’t include the married children, but this time they are. There will be around 90, our daughters from Wisconsin won’t be there, neither will Mark’s since Tonya is less than a week old. It will be held at my brother’s place, my sister-in-law isn’t making any food, she’ll get the place ready. We will have rolls, smoked turkey, potato stuffing, a vegetable and 4 kinds of salad, cranberry, lettuce, macaroni, broccoli/cauliflower. In the afternoon another sister-in-law will set up a coffee bar, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc. The married grandchildren (of my parents) will bring baked goods to eat with it. We never did anything like this before, I look forward to trying it. There are 9 of us children, 7 of us married with children, so the number keeps growing as our children marry and bring their families. I will be taking the potato stuffing, I mixed it last evening, and will bake it tomorrow morning while we are in church. I made 7 portions, it took almost 30 lbs. of potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed, 6 loaves of bread, 21 eggs. It took me 3 hours to make it. I have a “gi-normous” pan that fits in my oven, covers one whole rack. I got the recipe from Rufus’ Mom many years ago, it always brings compliments.
Rufus found some netting stuff to use to cover the roses for the winter. They bloomed till November 20th, I don’t think I’ve ever seen them bloom so late in the year. Next week, preferably Monday before it gets too cold, I want to get them taken care of, also a few other plants. That way if the snow flies or it gets real cold, they will be protected.
One of our producers is planning to move to another area, maybe the boys won’t have to put as many long days in this winter with less milk. The men are talking about expanding, they are also wanting to try some new cheeses.
May the Blessings of the Christmas Season be with you and last into the coming year.